School Aims to Catch Students from Mexico
December 29th, 2007 @ 1:13pm
by Associated Press
CALEXICO, Calif. (AP) _ Children are more apt to shield their faces than to smile when Daniel Santillan points his camera.
Santillan’s photos aren’t for any picture album or yearbook _ they help prove that Mexicans are illegally attending public schools in this California border community.
With too many students and too few classrooms, Calexico school officials took the unusual step of hiring someone to photograph children and document the offenders.
Santillan snaps pictures at the city’s downtown border crossing and shares the images with school principals, who use them as evidence to kick out those living in Mexico.
Since he started the job two years ago, the number of students in the Calexico school system has fallen by 5 percent, from 9,600 to 9,100, while the city’s population grew about 3 percent.
“The community asked us to do this, and we responded,” said board President Enrique Alvarado of the Calexico Unified School District. “Once it starts to affect you personally, when your daughter gets bumped to another school, then our residents start complaining.”
Every day along the 1,952-mile border, children from Mexico cross into the United States and attend public schools. No one keeps statistics on how many children make the trek.